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Cokie Roberts (1943–2019), legendary journalist with NPR and ABC News

by Linnea Crowther

Cokie Roberts was a journalist known for her work on NPR’s “Morning Edition” as well as co-anchoring ABC News’ “This Week with Sam Donaldson and Cokie Roberts.” 

Cokie Roberts was a pioneering journalist known for her work on NPR’s “Morning Edition” as well as co-anchoring ABC News’ “This Week with Sam Donaldson and Cokie Roberts.” She began working at NPR in the radio network’s early days, joining in 1978 and helping shape the growth of the network as she covered politics as a congressional correspondent. Along with Nina Totenberg, Linda Wertheimer, and Susan Stamberg, she was considered one of the “Founding Mothers” of NPR. Roberts later became a commentator on “Morning Edition” as well as joining ABC News, covering politics and public policy. Her understanding of politics came naturally, as she was the daughter of Hale and Lindy Boggs, both U.S. Representatives from Louisiana. Roberts was also the bestselling author of books including “We Are Our Mothers’ Daughters” and “Founding Mothers.”

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Died: September 17, 2019 (Who else died on September 17?)

Details of death: Died of complications of breast cancer at the age of 75.

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Widely honored: Roberts was a legend of political journalism, and she was honored with awards and other recognition from many sources. She was named a “Living Legend” by the Library of Congress in 2008, and she won three Emmy Awards and the Edward R. Murrow Award. American Women in Radio and Television named her one of the 50 greatest women in the history of broadcasting. Roberts had more than 20 honorary degrees, and she was a member of the Broadcasting and Cable Hall of Fame.

Notable quote: “I’m the only person in my original nuclear family who didn’t run for Congress. I have always felt semi-guilty about it. But I’ve sort of assuaged my guilt by writing about it and feeling like I’m educating people about the government and how to be good voters and good citizens.” —from a 2019 interview with the Washington Post

What people said about her: “A great loss for all of us. She was vibrant and generous and believed in good. I’ll miss Cokie terribly.” —Renee Montagne, NPR correspondent

“Cokie Roberts will be dearly missed. Cokie’s kindness, generosity, sharp intellect and thoughtful take on the big issues of the day made ABC a better place and all of us better journalists.” —James Goldston, ABC News president

“My friend, my colleague, my hero. Cokie Roberts has died. Brilliant. Brave. Kind. Hilarious. A fierce patriot. And one of the best human beings I have ever known.” —Terry Moran, ABC News correspondent

“Mourning the passing of legendary ABC correspondent Cokie Roberts, who passed away at the age of 75. She was a true pioneer of the business, and a revered colleague.” —John Roberts, Fox News correspondent

“Am so sorry to hear: Cokie Roberts endlessly fascinating. Full of integreity & utterly charming. She’d done it all, but carried it lightly. Always curious, asking questions. One of great privileges of getting to work at ABC. The Capital Dame!” —Jon Williams, former ABC managing editor

Full obituaryWashington Post

Related lives:

  • Gwen Ifill (1955–2016), “PBS NewsHour” co-anchor
  • Molly Ivins (1944–2007), columnist and political commentator
  • Helen Thomas (1920–2013), White House correspondent covered nine presidents

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